Will this work?

Question: If you have time, convince me that I can do a conversion on a Lovik's Living Mouth and make it into a standard slot jaw. I THINK I'm inclined to build up the jaw and chin a bit with Magic Sculpt (I may not even have to remove the leather...just build over it...then saw down the slots with extra at the bottom. The Living Mouth mechanism is, as you know, a simple but clever cabinet hinge between two pieces of wood, so it SEEMS to me that it would do the same thing for a solid slot jaw as it does for the Living Mouth without having to engineer anything. Am I missing something here?
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Answer: What you describe should work tp a degree. I've never done it, but I can imagine it. However, (and if you're missing anything, I suspect this is it) - the slotted jaw unit will have action that is more "drop down" than the traditional "rolling"action on a mouth and face designed for slotted jaw.

To say it another way, the jaw unit on a slot jaw figure is normally designed so the underside of the chin turns into the head as the mouth is opened.

I don't believe that is what will happen on the converted living mouth done in the simple manner you describe. Rather, using the current cabinet hinge as the mouth axle will result in a mouth unit which places lips and chin on a greater radius from the axis than a face designed for slotted jaw. I can imagine that something will have to be done under the chin to allow the jaw to move downward. Just what, I don't know - those are the challenges to be worked out as you go...maybe a folding leather piece?


  1. Anonymous7/09/2010

    If going to rebuild the jaw, then reposition the axle for roll to avoid drop down if left as is. LD

  2. Philip Grecian7/09/2010

    Hey! That's my query to you from a couple of months ago! Cool!

    I didn't do it quite the way I was thinking I would. I simply went ahead and tore out the leather, then cut a section downward from the far edges of the mouth and on down to the front of the neck.
    (I wish I'd taken pictures as I went. I think I was so nervous about doing the deed at all, that I was in a kind of shock)
    This left me with a single piece of wood, which was the bottom lip, with a gaping hole beneath.

    I then constructed a rough lower lip and chin out of cardboard and glued it to the bottom lip piece. I used masking tape to create a temporary "fill in" on the sides and taped a strip of cardboard to the neck as a fill in below.

    I then began building up Magic Sculpt around the cardboard, testing as I went and adjusting both the sculpt and the masking tape when they got too close or jammed up.

    I reasoned that using a cardboard core would help to keep the lower jaw as lightweight as possible.

    Once I was satisfied with the mechanics of the swing, I replaced the masking take on the sides with more Magic Sculpt, and made minor adjustments with sand paper and wood files.

    I used more magic sculpt to alter the figure's face. She had been a black female. She is to be a white old lady. I also found that there was enough give in the string controlling the eyes that I could move them upward inside the forehead so that I could file out the shape of the eyes and open them up a bit more.

    I also built new ears. The old ones were rubber and hadn't much detail.

    And, since she was to be an old lady, I even had to and the chin down a bit, as it was too youthful.

    As I'm writing this, the head is clamped in a vice in the other room. I am evening out the jaw line on either side now, to make her match all the way around.

    It worked, Clinton! We were both worried about the swing of the axis, but it worked!

  3. Without getting into geometric details, the extended (Jutting) jaw of a living mouth figure will not allow satisfactory "roll" movement, even with repositioning of the mouth axle. "Been there; done that".